RCSE's speaker this week zoomed in all the way from Alaska!  John Neely's son, Thomas, spoke to the club about the oil and gas industry and life in Alaska.  Before Thomas presented, President Laura Lane McKinnon announced that 4th Quarter dues had been emailed and to please pay promptly.  She also informed the club that there will be a reception in honor of Brendan Mungwena's graduation from Georgia Southern University on Sunday, May 8th, from 2-4 at Skidaway Community Church.  All members of RCSE are invited.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Sam Eskew.  Laura Lane thanked all members who were able to participate in the meeting last Friday.  She is asking a small group to help with action items and is hopeful to report back to the club by early June.  Once all Rotary business items were discussed, Tom Neely introduced his son, Thomas.  
Thomas has been working as a petroleum geologist for Conoco Phillips for the past 15 years.  He started in their Houston office and transferred to the Anchorage office six years ago.  700,000 thousand people live in Alaska with 15% being Native Alaskans.  The population of Alaska increased over time with the discovery of oil on the North Slope. American's consume 20 million barrels of oil a day.  The United States produces 11 billion barrels of oil a day with Alaska producing 5% of that (500,000 barrels a day).  The revenue generated by oil in Alaska accounts for 40% of the annual budget for the state.  A quarter of the revenue goes to the Alaska Permanent Fund (current value - $75 billion).  Every person who lives in Alaska receives a dividend from the fund each year which is usually around $1000 per person.  
The North Slope is a narrow strip of land between the ocean and a mountain range.  In 1944, three fields were discovered in this area and in the 1960's, exploration for oil and gas started in earnest.  During the 1970's, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) was constructed.  Seismic data is used to explore drilling sites on the North Slope.  Several thousand workers are on the North Slope at all times working a two week on, two week off schedule.  Thomas said that the earth is constantly making oil.  
Thomas enjoys living and working in Alaska due to all the outdoor activities.  One such activity is snow machining which we would call snow mobiles.  They use snow machines for trail riding, village transportation, mountain riding, and iron dog racing.  He said one downside of living in Alaska are the earthquakes.  The largest earthquake (9.1 magnitude) ever recorded in North America struck Alaska's Prince Edward Sound in 1964.  Thomas recommended reading The Great Quake which is a book about this earthquake.